“And Zacharias said unto the angel, whereby shall I know this? For I am an old man and my wife well stricken in years. And the angel answering said, I am Gabriel that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to show thee these glad tidings. And behold, thou shall be dumb, and not able to speak until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words which shall be fulfilled in their season.”
Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, was a priest in the temple of God. Based on priestly hierarchy, he was the priest who lit the incense while people prayed in the temple. The Bible says, he and his wife “were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.” (Luke 1:6) Yet, although he was an experienced priest, with what we assume to be many years of service in the temple, when Gabriel, the Archangel, appeared unto him with the information that he would not only become a first time father in his old age, but also, father to the son who would announce the coming of the Messiah; Zacharias did not believe him. And, because of his unbelief, the Bible says, he was stricken with dumbness, unable to speak for the entire nine months of his wife’s pregnancy.
We can imagine Zacharias, a pillar of strength within the temple of Judean society. A man worthy of marriage to a descendant of Aaron, the famed high priest of Israel, going about his temple duties with love and devotion to God. It is easy to imagine his supplications on behalf of the people being fulfilled with answers from God; while his secret prayers to be blessed with children throughout his life, went seemingly unanswered by the Lord. And, just when he finally accepted his fate of never being the high priest, never having an heir, and never being able to see the birth of a son, along comes Gabriel with a message of both shock and hope!
Unbelief is not limited to the unrighteous, or the ungodly, many times it is found in the very faithful. Those whom we believe should easily accept God’s responses and promises to their pleas whenever they manifest. Yet truthfully, even in our staunchest testimony of our faith in Christ, sometimes we will fail in our belief when we need it most. It is in those times when we are the most vulnerable in remaining steadfast that we need to strengthen our belief in God; because, no matter how it appears on the outside, or how we feel on the inside, God is forever faithful! L.
Study Reference: Luke 1:5-64
From: "The Appearance of Faith." In The Master's Hands: 365 Daily Devotions For Everyday Living.
Copyright © 2014 by Lavona E. Campbell
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